Bacon is big in our house, and while I love to add it to salads I had never thought of bacon in the context of Asian food. Inspiration struck while reading a Food & Wine cookbook – why not marry bacon with Asian flavors? With that idea I was off! Jeff says learning to cook bacon in the oven is one of the three most important things he has learned from me (I am absolutely serious). I choose to interpret the fact that this food lesson is in the top three as evidence of our shared passion for bacon. Once you have cooked bacon in the oven you will never go back – it’s so hands-off and you get perfectly crisp bacon everytime. Combine honey bacon with arugula and a bracing vinaigrette…side salad heaven!
Cooking bacon in the oven might be one of the best things you ever learn on WKC. Using the oven eliminates all the work and mess. A sheet pan with aluminum foil, add the bacon and pop it in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until perfectly crsip. Drain on paper towels and you are done. Easy enough for a weekday morning and a lifesaver when you are feeding a crowd on the weekend. Happy cooking!
6 slices Bacon (I use low-sodium)
2 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Soy sauce, low-sodium
5 oz bag Arugula
2 tbsp Sweet chili sauce
1 tsp Honey
1 Lime, juice and zest
½ cup Canola oil
¼ Cup Rice vinegar, unseasoned
Vegetables for salad (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl whisk together 2 tbsp honey and soy sauce.
Lay 6 slices of bacon on the sheet pan and brush with honey/soy mixture.
Cook in the oven until crisp, 12-15 minutes. Watch carefully because the honey makes the bacon more susceptible to burning. Once cooked, remove bacon to a plate to cool (do not put on paper towels because the honey will make the bacon stick).
In a Mason jar combine sweet chili sauce, remaining honey, lime, canola oil and rice vinegar. Shake vigorously until dressing is emulsified.
Place arugula in a medium bowl and add vinaigrette to taste.
Once bacon has cooled, slice into small pieces (I use scissors for this task).
Divide dressed arugula among 4 plates, adding any vegetables (optional) and top with bacon.
My current ingredient obsession is miso paste. I go through these phases of getting hooked on ingredients from time to time – it’s one of the most fun parts of making a living through food. Right now, it’s miso, specifically white miso. White miso is the mildest form of miso paste, so it’s the best choice to try. One tub, which only costs about $6, will keep in your fridge for months and adds a subtle, salty kick to so many dishes. Plus, because it has such a mild taste I can sneak it by my kids (another big plus). Recently I used white miso to make Grilled Baby Bok Choy, and I was hooked. It’s such a versatile ingredient – it’s ups the flavor with vegetables, as a glaze on proteins, in marinades, dipping sauces and of course soup.
I used baby potatoes in this recipe, but you could really use any type of potato. The important thing is that they are parboiled (so you don't have to burn them to cook them through) and that the pieces are no bigger than 2 inches thick. Happy cooking!
1 (24 oz) bag of Baby potatoes
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 tbsp Butter, unsalted
2 tbsp Canola oil
1 tbsp Miso paste, white
½ tsp Kosher salt
Place potatoes in a medium size saucepan, cover with cold water and Kosher salt. Turn burner on high, and bring the water to a boil. Allow potatoes to boil until you can pierce them with a fork and they are nearly tender, 8-10 minutes (they will finish cooking in the pan).
Drain in a colander, and give the colander a good shake to get the excess water off the potatoes.
Slice the potatoes in half and set aside.
Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once butter has melted stir in the miso paste.
Add the potatoes and sprinkle with Kosher salt.
Cook potatoes, stirring from time to time, until the potatoes are crisp and browned on the cut side, 15-20 minutes.
These potatoes are a great candidate for a weeknight dinner. Why? Because you can do the parboil section of the recipe a day ahead of time. That way, you simply need to toss the potatoes in a hot skillet. If you do parboil ahead of time, try to let the potatoes come to room temperature before continuing with the recipe.
This meal idea originally began life as a grill recipe, but when you look outside and see your grill literally in flames – it needed to be completely cleaned – a fast pivot was necessary. Thank goodness for sheet pans! And a sheet pan with aluminum foil? That’s complete no-dishes-to-wash heaven! Back to the recipe…I had some leftover wasabi sauce that I wanted to use and I thought it could be perfect on the side of an Asian flavored flank steak. This marinade could not be simpler, it’s TWO ingredients, and the kids really enjoyed it. We are mostly a chicken and pork family, but when we do eat red meat, flank steak is my first choice. It’s lean, and to feed a family of 5 or 6, you can buy an entire flank steak for less than $20. So, while that certainly isn’t cheap, it is way more cost-effective than individual steaks and it’s a much leaner cut of meat, which I personally like much better. I have to confess that both Dashiell and Trafford always ask where the fat is…how they can eat that stuff I will never understand…yuck!
Flank steak is mouthwatering in the oven or on the grill. If you decide to grill, the cooking times will be very similar, see my recipe for That Steak Salad for grilling instructions. Just be sure to let it rest for 10 minutes. The cut is so lean, it's crucial that the juices re-distribute. Happy cooking!
1¾ - 2 lb Flank steak, scored (see note)
1 tbsp Wasabi, prepared
½ cup Soy sauce, low-sodium
In a small bowl whisk the wasabi with the soy sauce.
Place flank steak in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over. Massage the marinade into the steak and place bag in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Remove flank steak from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to start cooking.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Place flank steak on the sheet pan and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 400 degrees and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove sheet pan from the oven and transfer the flank steak to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes.
A flank steak is done when the internal temperature is 130 degrees, which is medium rare. Feel free to cook for a few more minutes if you want it more to a medium doneness.
Slice the meat thinly, against the grain (which means finding the direction of the grain, the way the muscle fibers are aligned, then slice across the grain rather than parallel with it) and serve.
Scoring - Flank steak has long fibers, so try making ⅛ inch shallow cuts against the grain in one direction, then another set of cuts the other way (it will look like a cross-hatch pattern). These cuts sever some of the long fibers, so your steak becomes noticeably more tender. A bonus is the shallow cuts absorb the seasoning or marinade, making for a more flavorful piece of meat.
Few vegetables are more delicious on the grill than portabello mushrooms…they lend themselves to all types of flavor profiles and they grill beautifully. This mouthwatering marinade pairs perfectly with the mushrooms, but would also work well with steak.
This marinade is soooo good! Your mushrooms need as little as an hour in the marinade, but up to overnight works well too. Planning a quick weeknight dinner - I would double the marinade and include a few steaks. Happy cooking!
4 tbsp Soy sauce, low-sodium
½ of a Lime, zested and juiced
2 tsp Garlic, minced
2 tsp Sambal oelek (see note)
½ cup Canola oil
4 Portabello mushrooms, gills removed (see note)
In a small bowl mis together soy sauce, lime, garlic, sambal oelek and canola oil.
Place mushrooms in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over. Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Spray grill with canola spray and preheat to medium. Place mushrooms on the grill and cook, turning every 5 minutes for 15-20 minutes total.
Remove from grill and serve immediately.
Sambal oelek - An Indonesian hot sauce that adds a subtle kick to the mushrooms. If you don't have it swap in Siracha. These mushrooms aren't spicy so you don't want to skip some type of hot sauce. Why remove the gills? You simply need to scrap them out with a spoon. The gills can hide any sand or dirt - which would make your mushrooms taste gritty. And if you are making any type of sauce the dark gills can discolor anything they touch.
Bok choy on the grill is so good, flavorful and interesting…and best of all quick, which makes it the perfect candidate for a weeknight dinner side. Of all the Asian ingredients I keep in the fridge, miso paste might be my favorite. I love it’s unami punch and versatility.
I love bok choy on the grill, it's just like grilled romaine, unexpectedly good in a way you never anticipated. I know it sounds crazy, but bok choy is actually very kid-friendly. You don't need to do much for these ingredients, just toss them with a bit of butter or oil, and seasoning and hit the grill. Happy cooking!
3 tbsp Butter, unsalted
3 tbsp Canola oil
3 tbsp Miso paste, white
1 lb Baby bok choy not trimmed (see note)
In you have a grill basket - preheat grill to medium. If you do not have a grill basket, spray the grill with canola spray before preheating.
Melt butter, canola oil and miso paste in a small bowl in the microwave.
In a large bowl toss bok choy with miso butter mixture.
Transfer to the grill, and cook, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.
The leaves should be slightly crisp and the bulbs tender. When eating you can discard the bok choy bulbs.
Bok choy - I like to cook the bok choy without trimming the stalks - it's easier to grill if everything is intact.
Seared ahi tuna is one of those fabulous meals that exists somewhere between dreams and reality…this recipe was born from a sushi craving. I love to feed my kids as much seafood as possible, but the reality is that means frozen shrimp or seafood on sale. I saw yellowtail on sale at Wegmans last week, so I snapped it right up. My kids really like seafood, so it wasn’t hard to get them to try tuna. However, the sesame seeds are completely strange to them and I definitely got some pushback, so I adjusted accordingly. I made one of the tuna steaks sesame seed free – and everyone ate their dinner. You have to pick your battles….
If you aren't sure your kids will eat sesame seeds then play it safe and make one tuna steak sesame seed free. To introduce them to the flavor give them a small piece from your plate and let them try it. For my kids I try to have realistic expectations...eating sesame seeds is less important than enjoying a happy and healthy dinner. Happy cooking!
2 Tuna steaks (1¼ - ½ lbs total)
4 tbsp Canola oil, divided in half
2 tsp Sesame oil, divided in half
⅔ cups Sesame seeds, mix of white and black seeds, divided in half
½ tsp Kosher salt, divided in half
Spray grill with canola spray and turn to medium high.
Pat tuna dry.
On one plate combine half of the canola oil and sesame oil.
On a second plate combine half of the sesame seeds and Kosher salt.
Dip tuna in the oil mixture, making sure to completely cover the tuna.
Transfer to the plate with the sesame seed mixture and throughly coat the tuna, pressing the sesame seeds to adhere to the tuna.
Grill tuna on medium high for 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and slice thinly to serve.
Concocting sauces is a particular passion of mine. A simple sauce transforms an ordinary dinner into a special meal. The one constant of WKC sauces is you need Greek yogurt as a creamy base and some fresh herbs for flavor – then you can let your imagination run wild. Loving your leftovers is not only for how to reuse your protein, what about how to adapt a sauce to a second dinner later in the week? This sauce is the perfect compliment to the Grilled Sesame Tuna and the Wasabi Sheet Pan Flank Steak…try both recipes this week!
For many years I stayed away from stir-fries, I was intimidated about how fast they cook and trying to have all the ingredients ready to go. Once I got over that fear, my eyes were finally opened to how stir-fries are the answer to a quick and savory weeknight dinner. This stir-fry is one of my favorites, the sauce is simple to make and so yummy, but if you don’t think your children will eat the sauce you have the option to pull some of the chicken and peppers out before adding the sauce at the end of the recipe.
Complete this meal with fluffy and tasty Jasmine rice.
Consider this stir-fry recipe a template. You can learn the technique and timing, and then swap in your family's favorite ingredients. You might not be familiar with Hoisin sauce, it has a wonderful slightly sweet flavor that really enhances this stir-fry, and will make this dinner a kid favorite. Happy cooking!
6 tbsp Hoisin sauce
2 tbsp Agave, light
3 tbsp Canola oil
3 (6 oz) Chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cut into ½ inch thick strips
2 Peppers, large, sliced into strips (I used red)
3 tsp Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Scallions, green parts only, minced (optional)
In a small bowl combine hoisin, agave and 2 tbsp water. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.
Add chicken and stir-fry for 8 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove to a plate.
Add peppers and cook until lightly browned, 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Pour hoisin mixture into the skillet and add the chicken back into the skillet. Reduce heat to simmer and allow the chicken and vegetables to simmer in the sauce for 2 additional minutes.
Delicious sauces are one of my favorite things to play around with…I just love experimenting with different flavors and seeing the finished result. I have to say this sauce is one of Jeff and my stand-outs – it is soooo good and tastes healthy and clean (which of course it is)! People don’t often think of flank steak as a leftover dinner candidate, but with a little planning you can make two amazing dinners. The key is to make sure you cook your back-up flank steak more rare, it will cook in the microwave when you are re-heating your dinner plates and you don’t want it too well done.
The soy and sesame oil give this sauce an Asian-inspired flavor, but don't let that limit your imagination. Thin this sauce with a little water to transform it into an amazing vinaigrette for lettuce wraps and salads, it would also be a great addition to fish or chicken. You can whisk this sauce up in a bowl, but I find it so much faster and easier to just toss everything in the food processor. Happy cooking!
1½ lbs. Flank steak, scored (see note)
½ Red onion, small, minced (about ¼ cup)
½ cup Cilantro, minced (this doesn't need to be an exact amount)
¼ cup Brown sugar, light
6 tsp Garlic, minced, divided
2 tsp Coriander, ground
1 tbsp Sesame oil
½ cup Soy sauce, low-sodium, divided in half
¾ cup Canola oil, divided
Suggested accompaniments - lettuce for wraps, tortillas, cut up vegetables, slaw
In a small bowl combine ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup canola oil and 4 tsp garlic, mix well. Place flank steak in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over the steak. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate up to overnight.
If refrigerating overnight, let come to room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.
Spray grill or grill plan with canola spray and heat to medium.
Place red onion in the food processor and pulse until finely minced. Next add the cilantro and pulse to minced as well.
Add brown sugar, garlic, coriander, sesame oil and soy sauce and pulse until well-blended.
Finally add the canola oil and pulse until emusified. Set aside.
Grill steak until cooked to desired doneness, about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to work surface. Let rest 10 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain. Top with the cilantro sauce.
To score your flank steak, place the flank steak on a cutting board, then use the tip of a sharp knife to make several shallow cuts into the surface of both sides of the steak in a diamond pattern. Try to make each cut about 1⁄4 inch (0.6 cm) deep. If you can, cut against the grain of the meat.
The dressing can be used right away or stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
We are big fans of Asian food in my house, and chicken teriyaki’s one of our favorites. If you haven’t introduced your children to Asian flavors, this recipe is a great place to start. The chicken’s firm texture and sweetness from the brown sugar and honey will make this meal a kid home run. Once you’ve made this quick, easy and healthy sauce you will never buy teriyaki at the store, it’s so delicious!
I'm so excited for share this recipe. I love making Asian at home, most recipes are quick, lots are str-fries...tailor-made for busy weeknights. Plus cooking Asian food at home means no extra sodium or preservatives in your food. Happy cooking!
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat combine soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, honey, garlci and 1½ cups water. Bring to a simmer.
In small bowl whisk cornstarch with ½ cup water.
Add the cornstarch mixture to the soy sauce mixture, whisk to combine and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes until thickened.
Place chicken cubes in a Ziploc bag and add marinate, reserving 1 cup of the sauce. Marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until golden brown and heated through, 5-6 minutes total.
Serve with the extra sauce on the side, steamed vegetables and rice.
If you are doubling the recipe, make sure you cook your chicken in 2 or 3 batches. You never want to crowd the pan. If you do so, the protein with steam not sear and you won't be able to get a browned exterior on the chicken.